Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Daniel Crimmins, PhD

Second Advisor

Ike Okosun, PhD

Abstract

Many patients with Spina Bifida suffer from hydrocephalus as a complication of their developmental disability and surgeons commonly treat this condition with ventriculoperitoneal shunts. Surgeons have speculated for years that these shunts may cause some type of visual disturbance because of their close proximity to the visual pathways in the brain. Little research has been done, however, to support or discourage this commonly held belief. Questions and data from the Arkansas Spina Bifida Research Project were used to examine whether ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts and VP shunt revisions increase reports of visual complaints for the individuals participating in this research project. This cross sectional design used responses to the vision questions from the 2005 Arkansas Spina Bifida Questionnaire. Results showed a 333% increase in reported vision complaints after receiving a VP shunt, but no significance with the increase in vision complaints for those having three or more VP shunt revisions. Females were 50% to 60% less likely to report vision complaints in both multivariate linear logistic models. While these results indicate the potential relationship between VP shunts and vision concerns, they must be viewed cautiously in light of study limitations due to the small sample size, selection bias, and study design.

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